CHOICE’s New Guide for Family Travel Insurance

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has commissioned not-for-profit organization CHOICE to come up with a comprehensive guide dedicated to single and family travel insurance. It is very useful for anyone that wants to know more about why a good policy is so important and can help decipher the best one to cover their needs. In simple terms, here are some of the more important points of the guide worth noting.

Why Get Single and Family travel insurance?

• You don’t end up a burden to your family and friends.
• Some countries won’t allow you in without a policy.
• You don’t have to worry about things that could go wrong while you’re on holiday.
• Your government won’t pay your bills for you if you’re not insured.

Will Insurers Pay Out?

• The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) shows that around 90% of all claims filed were paid. Of the remaining 10%, many were due to the buyer misunderstanding the extent of the policy.

Questions to Ask Yourself

• Where are you going? Familiarise yourself with and get cover for all the countries you will visit – even the ones you stop over for just one night.
• How long are you going for? One-off policies work best for a limited number of days abroad. Annual multi-trip policies work best for regular travel. Review the length of travel restrictions and get extensions if you travel in the long-term.
• What are you going to do there? Review everything you plan to do on your trip and check with your insurer to see if your planned activities are covered. Be wary of overindulging, as you won’t be covered if alcohol or drug intake is the cause of an adverse event.
• Are you taking any valuables? You may have to pay a higher premium if you want your expensive gadgets to be covered by your policy. Note that baggage left unattended will not be covered by your family travel insurance policy.
• Do you have any medical conditions? Be upfront with all your pre-existing conditions, from allergies to knee replacements, so that you’ll know if your insurer will cover for you or if you need to pay extra for expanded coverage.

Saving Money on Your Policy

• Buy early to get cheaper offers and protect yourself early on from outside events that may force you to cancel your trip.
• Buy online to find discounted single and family travel insurance packages but also to easily compare these packages.
• Haggle, especially since agents are more willing to be flexible with the final price tag thanks to high commissions.
• Check around for special offers due to affiliation with an organisation, like your bank or a health fund.
• Obtain a copy of the policy wording from your bank or credit card provider in order to identify if their “free” insurance packages are enough to protect you.

Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) Before Buying

• The PDS is a broad overview of policy’s clauses on pre-existing conditions, general exclusions, word definitions and claims section.

Review the Excess

• Note that excesses apply once per event and not for the sum total of events. For example, an excess of £500 will not cover three events costing £200 each. You’ll have to pay for these events out of your own pocket

Making a Complaint

• If you believe your provider is trying to skip out of their responsibility, start by approaching their internal dispute resolution centre. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, seek external dispute resolution through a government consumer protection agency – aka the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). If you are not satisfied with the consumer protection agency’s ruling, escalate further by taking legal action through the courts.

7 Strange Stories Where Travel Insurance Paid Out

When you’re applying for group or family travel insurance, it is always a good idea to read the fine print before signing anything. Doing so helps you better understand where you are covered and where you are not.
However, there are some events that are simply too strange to be realistically listed down in the fine print. Here are seven of the kookier ones where claims were successfully paid out.

1. Falling Coconuts – A traveller in Sri Lanka was injured due to a coconut falling on her head and was lucky enough to be insured when it happened. This is actually a fairly common problem in the tropical regions, which is why you often see de-nutted coconut trees lining the beaches of resorts and hotels.

2. Buried Treasure – Two well-meaning children in Cornwall took it upon themselves to safeguard the video camera belonging to their parents by burying it in the sand. They unfortunately forgot where they buried it, but the insurers paid out just the same. You may want to expand your family travel insurance to include your gadgets, especially if they’re pricey enough to warrant the extra protection.

3. Rampaging Rodents – One contributor to BusinessBalls.com shared how a client of his broke an arm cycling to work. The reason? A herd of guinea pigs ran him off the road! A local farmer supported his story, telling how his daughter’s guinea pigs escaped and bred to plague-like proportions. You probably won’t get run off the road by guinea pigs, but animals can pose a danger when you’re abroad – large or small.

4. Hungry Rhinos – Speaking of animals, an Australian traveller in Africa volunteered to help out in a local zoo. Unfortunately, the poor man lost a finger when a rhinoceros bit it off completely. It clearly pays not to underestimate animals, whether you’re in the wild or in the confines of a zoo.

5. Fatal Attraction – One young Briton broke his nose while walking into a bus shelter in Athens. He claimed that he was distracted by a group of women in bikinis and, luckily for him, his insurance provider paid out! Sometimes it pays to be honest and straightforward in these cases, although it could be a bit problematic for spouses to use this excuse when it comes to family travel insurance.

6. Best Foot Forward – A traveller in Fiji was trying out spear fishing and in his eagerness, he mistook his own foot for a fish – you can guess what happened afterwards! The provider in this case was gracious enough to cover the accident, which would have been easy to dismiss as a self-inflicted injury if they had been less reputable.

7. No-Show Snow – A woman raring to test out her brand-new skis on the piste filed for a pay-out from her insurance company for a lack of snow when she arrived. Some providers guarantee specific events during the trip, like skiing or horseback riding, so it is worth reviewing the contract to see if you will be covered due to factors beyond your control.

While these stories above sound too strange to happen to you, it is worth noting that they actually happened. You’ll be very grateful for the protection of single or family travel insurance packages if something just as strange happens to you!

Ongoing Residential Projects in Mumbai Luring Buyers

According to real estate reports, sales are plummeting in India’s housing market. But this has not stopped developers from introducing new projects in Mumbai as well as Pune. Several ongoing residential projects in these cities are luring buyers to make an investment.

In Mumbai, there has been a significant increase in construction work in ultra-luxury and affordable segments. Sale has gone up for flats below 50 Lacs INR. Even in areas like Mumbai’s metropolitan region and Greater Mumbai, average property rates have increased.

Companies are coming up with new property formats for capitalising on the change in environment caused by proposed real estate laws and changed economic scenario. Not only developers are offering quality properties but buyers are also demanding luxury homes, equipped with modern amenities. In order to lure buyers, developers are building stylish high-rise apartments with world-class facilities.

High-rise buildings have become quite popular among developers as they are constructing such buildings to differentiate their projects from the others. Not just in Mumbai but skyscrapers have also started making a mark on Pune’s skyline. The governing body of the Pune Municipal Corporation in 2011 gave the green signal to increase maximum permissible height of high-rise buildings in Pune to 100 metres from 36 metres.

Many buyers are looking for premium properties in Mumbai and luxury flats in Pune. To cater to this rising demand from wealthy buyers, developers have started building iconic premium properties. High-rise buildings are not only the need of the hour but they also offer stunning views of the city due to which many buyers prefer buying a flat on the top floor of skyscrapers. There are various other advantages associated with living in a high-rise structure. Apart from views, the exclusivity attached to the project also lures buyers. In a city like Mumbai, staying on the top floor of a high-rise building ensures zero noise pollution and clean air.

Such buildings have an iconic status that cannot be replicated easily by other developers. There is a status attached to such constructions which is difficult to find in other project. Many developers are trying to attract buyers by offering world class amenities in such buildings such as a swimming pool and gymnasium. Since such flats have a controlled entrance, security is also ensured.

In last few months, various residential projects priced between 6 Crore INR to 20 Crore INR have been announced by real estate companies in Mumbai. Things have changed to a great extent after Narendra Modi came into power. Foreign investors are getting the stability they were looking for in the Indian economy. The stability factor has helped Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to start investing in the Indian realty sector for attractive returns.

NRIs have also increased their investment in luxury homes in cities like Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi. Many foreign property development companies are also entering the realty market. They are collaborating with Indian property developers to lure home buyers with stylish, super-luxury flats and penthouses.